“He Who Is Reluctant to Recognize Me Opposes Me”: Self-Determination, Recognition, and Revolution Between the Black United Front and the Canadian State

Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (Lindsay Children’s Room) or online by clicking here for the Zoom link

Evan Jennex: Master’s Student, Dalhousie University  

Abstract: On November 30th, 1968, over 400 Black Nova Scotians met at a North-End Halifax library to discuss the creation of a self-deterministic, activist organization called the Black United Front (BUF). Between 1969-1996 the Black United Front held Black cultural events, promoted Black businesses, and highlighted racial barriers present in Nova Scotia. This research analyzes the actions of BUF, focalizing on the relationships between BUF and State institutions that attempted to shift the organization’s direction and activism. 

Click here for a bio of Evan Jennex

The Marshall Indecision

Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (Lindsay Children’s Room) and via Zoom  


Brady Paul: Indigenous Student Advisor, Master’s Student, Saint Mary’s University 

Abstract: The colonial bias that motivated aggressive expansion and control in Canada is still prevalent today. The Marshall decision (1999) is a prime example of how the Canadian Federal and Provincial governments still view Indigenous people as “inferior”.

Indigenous sovereignty has been infringed upon since contact with Europeans. The complete disregard for Indigenous Nationhood is not only a historical issue, but a contemporary one. Indigenous autonomy over everyday life must be recognized to truly begin the journey of reconciliation, but it begins with upholding the fundamental principles of the Peace and Friendship treaties.

Click here for a bio of Brady Paul 

Recording via YouTube coming soon!

“Marking” Identity and Respectability: 19th Century Samplers, Halifax’s African School, and Scholars of the Needle

Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (Lindsay Children’s Room) or online via Zoom (link to follow)


Lisa Bower: Assistant Curator and Registrar (Cultural History), Nova Scotia Museum

Abstract: Embroidered pictures composed of text and images known as “samplers” were commonly produced by nineteenth-century white settler schoolgirls across Nova Scotia. A remarkable example made in 1845, by a student at Halifax’s African School, proves the practice was also a part of the Black schoolgirl experience. Samplers changed over time and served multiple purposes. Needlework instruction and production became a paradoxical experience for its students, particularly for young Black Haligonians, simultaneously representing oppression and empowerment.  

Click here for a bio of Lisa Bower

“The Students are getting very restless”: Student Power at the Provincial Normal School, 1869 – 1879

Wednesday, December 14, 2022, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (Lindsay Children’s Room) and via Zoom. 

John Grant: Professor (retired), St. Francis Xavier University

Abstract: In 1869, Alexander Forrester, the founding principal of the Provincial Normal School, Truro, NS, died in office. The provincial government replaced him with a colleague who had taught at the school since 1855. Within two months, however, he was removed from office and another was appointed. In 1879, two professors at the school were replaced. In both cases it was student voice and student action that precipitated change. This paper examines the two cases and considers the interwoven roles of politics in the confederation era and the politics of education and religion in the satisfaction of student demands.

Click here for a bio of John Grant

Recording via YouTube coming soon!

Early White Audience Reactions to Blackface Performances on Halifax stages (1830s-1860s)

Wednesday, November 16, 2022, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (BMO Room) and via Zoom

Nicole Neatby: Professor, History Department, Saint Mary’s University

Abstract: Reviews in Halifax  newspapers  reveal that blackface performances  provoked mixed reactions between the late 1830s when they first appeared and the 1860s. While these shows were clearly popular from the outset among many Haligonians, those who published reviews were highly critical in the early decades.  However, it didn’t take long for reviewers’ assessments to evolve.  By the 1860s, the derision had subsided and  blackface shows gained favour as a form of  acceptable mainstream entertainment. This lecture will explore the reasons behind this shift and to what extent these reactions can offer some insights into  white Haligonians’ attitudes towards race and class.

Click here for a bio of Nicole Neatby

Recording via YouTube coming soon!

Maligomish: Roman Catholicism and the Persistence of Mi’kmaw Culture

Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (Lindsay Children’s Room) and via Zoom   

Colin Osmond, Post-doctoral Fellow, Mount Saint Vincent University

Abstract: Every year on July 26th, Mi’kmaq travel to Maligomish to attend Saint Anne’s Day – a Roman Catholic tradition honouring the Mi’kmaq’s patron saint. But the Mission is much more than a Catholic Holy day. For centuries, Mi’kmaq have gathered at Maligomish for a series of important political meetings and cultural events. The continuity of Mi’kmaq traditions highlights Mi’kmaw agency and cultural persistence – despite enormous colonial pressure to ‘assimilate’ in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Click here for a bio of Colin Osmond

Not just Evangeline: A Look at Real Acadian Women

Wed., May 18, 2022, 7 pm (Atlantic), via Zoom

For Members, the AGM package will be available here

Susan Surette-Draper, Les Amis de Grand-Pré

Abstract: Some Acadian men’s names like Joseph Beausoleil, René LeBlanc and Pierre Melanson are familiar to many people but have you ever asked yourselves about the women in their lives? How did women’s support, determination and leadership help to build and preserve Acadian identity? A few rare comments can
be found in history books but the information is sparse and scattered. Join Susan for her look at Acadian society from a female lens.

Click here for a bio of Susan Surette-Draper

The Submarine Mining Establishment on Georges Island, 1873‐1906

Wed., April 20, 2022, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), via Zoom

Sara Beanlands, Boreas Heritage Consulting Inc.

Abstract: Georges Island is a cultural landscape that reflects centuries of change in military strategy and defense technology. During the late 19th century, a highly secretive technology for manufacturing and deploying mines emerged, and the Island became the site of a Submarine Mining Establishment. In 2020, as Parks Canada prepared to open the island for public visitation, archaeologists uncovered a portion of the historic SME infrastructure. This talk will explore the history and archaeology of the Submarine Mining Establishment on Georges Island.

Click here for a bio of Sara Beanlands

Nostalgia, Longing, and the Embedded Self: Overshot Weaving and Stories of Place in Cape Breton

Wed., March 16, 2022, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), via Zoom 

Dr. Hilary Doda, Dalhousie University 

Abstract: ‘Overshot’ is a textile form that has been produced in Cape Breton from the early days of Scottish migration. Despite the loss of the skill elsewhere, overshot’s popularity persisted in Cape Breton through the mid-20th century as part of a larger theme of nostalgic identity formation. The patterns carry narratives of longing that developed new importance in a time already fraught with antimodernist sentiment, as signifiers in turn of respectability, hospitality, and lineage.

Click here for a bio of Hilary Doda